Discovery of PPi-type Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase Genes in Eukaryotes and Bacteria

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Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) is one of the pivotal enzymes that regulates the carbon flow of the central metabolism by fixing CO2 to phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) to produce oxaloacetate or vice versa. Whereas ATP- and GTP-type PEPCKs have been well studied, and their protein identities are established, inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi)-type PEPCK (PPi-PEPCK) is poorly characterized. Despite extensive enzymological studies, its protein identity and encoding gene remain unknown. In this study, PPi-PEPCK has been identified for the first time from a eukaryotic human parasite, Entamoeba histolytica, by conventional purification and mass spectrometric identification of the native enzyme, followed by demonstration of its enzymatic activity. A homolog of the amebic PPi-PEPCK from an anaerobic bacterium Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. shermanii also exhibited PPi-PEPCK activity. The primary structure of PPi-PEPCK has no similarity to the functional homologs ATP/GTP-PEPCKs and PEP carboxylase, strongly suggesting that PPi-PEPCK arose independently from the other functional homologues and very likely has unique catalytic sites. PPi-PEPCK homologs were found in a variety of bacteria and some eukaryotes but not in archaea. The molecular identification of this long forgotten enzyme shows us the diversity and functional redundancy of enzymes involved in the central metabolism and can help us to understand the central metabolism more deeply.


  • The journal of biological chemistry

    The journal of biological chemistry 290(39), 23960-23970, 2015-09

    American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


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